Intro: Exodus is a continuation of the story of Genesis.
In Genesis we see the constant and consistent failure of man. It is the creation story
In fact in the Hebrew the word and or now begins this passage. However if the emphasis in Genesis is creation then the emphasis in Exodus is redemption. Exodus is the continuation of God dealing with and rescuing not only the Hebrew people but all of man from their sin.
In the first half of the book we see God saving them out of the land of Egypt, He changes their citizenship. Then God spends the second half of the book getting the land of Egypt out of them. The first 18 chapters have to do with physically rescuing the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. The next 22 chapters deal with getting the old mindset and practices out of the people of God. We would say first God changes us positionally then he changes us practically.
The whole of the book of Exodus is about God working on the people of Israel to set them free!!
As we learn about what God does to make us free we need to realize and understand some things. 1) The Exodus was a real and historical event. 2) God moves His plan forward from the past. a) We must not disregard the past because it is a guide to how God will work on our behalf in the future. b) We must guard against getting stuck in the past. The past is a guidepost to tomorrow not a hitching post to yesterday.
I. It was God’s providing hand that placed Israel in Egypt
1.1 “These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob.”
What is the first thing we think about when we consider Israel in Egypt?
Most of us would say captivity. However you have to remember how Israel got to Egypt. It goes all the way back to the story of arrogant young boy named Joseph and his jealous brothers. Joseph was sold into slavery, lied into prison and promoted to the Pharaoh’s palace.
What exactly did Joseph say about what his brothers did to him?
Genesis 50:20 “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people.” Where exactly do you think the apostle Paul got the idea for Romans 8:28?
His brothers planned evil!! Now the evil Jealousy of Joseph’s brothers was used for God’s purpose.
Why was Israel in Egypt? Israel was there because of God’s plan. Israel was there because that was the very place He provided food during the famine.
God will use whatever means necessary to get us where He wants us! They were not placed there for captivity they were placed there for God’s blessing!
II. It was Pharaoh’s punishing hand that placed Israel in slavery
A) Change in government
1:6 “Then Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died.” Joseph made the Pharaoh of Egypt owner of all the land and all the people of Egypt. Because of the favor Joseph had with Pharaoh Israel got the best land of Egypt.
We all know that when new management or new government come along things change. Listen to this foreboding statement. 1:8 “A new king, who had not known Joseph, came to power in Egypt.”
The people of Israel may have stayed in Egypt and never fulfilled God’s plan for setting man free if not for this new Pharaoh. For hundreds of years the people of Israel enjoyed living freely in Egypt
Because of the fear Pharaoh had for Israel he began to persecute and enslave them. But that is not all that is happening. In Genesis 15:12-16 God told Abraham that this would happen.
Even though it appears to be fear and evil that are in control God is getting Israel prepared to trust.
B) Change in treatment
Exodus 1:11, 13, 14
Slavery, forced labor, made their lives bitter with difficult labor.
If these types of situations happen in most of our lives we would wonder if God had abandoned us.
CS Lewis ““Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
God uses pain to press us toward Him. The leader and people of Egypt sought to discourage the growth of Israel. Why was the harsh treatment slavery and forced labor not working to stop the growth of this people? Because it was God’s plan for this people to become more numerous than the stars in the sky or the sand on the beach.
There are some lessons that can only be learned as we travel the road of suffering and pain.
AW Tozer said, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” There is nothing like suffering to show us who we really are.
1) God will use pain to make you sensitive to His voice
2) God will use pain to fulfill His plan for you
3) God will use pain to show us that He alone should be feared and trusted
III. It was the midwives obedient (pliant) hands that placed trust in God
Not only did the Pharaoh oppress all the people of Israel he gave their midwives orders to kill the first born boys. 1.16
What a horrible policy from the ruler of Egypt. This plan is a last ditch plan by a desperate man. We have a similar policy today called abortion. Church we must pray for the ladies, women, and men involved in making these decisions and ask God to rescue them and their babies.
The Pharaoh had absolute power in Egypt. He could easily have had them put to death. Why did the midwives ignore the direct command of the Pharaoh?
A) They feared God rather than man (Exodus 1.17)
As usually happens those that seek to control us with pain want us to compromise our faith or convictions.
B) They are blessed by God because of their faith
1) The nation of Israel was fruitful and multiplied
Fulfilling God’s initial plan for man and God’s plan for Abraham’s people.
2) The midwives were fruitful and multiplied
It is suggested by some that barren women were often used as midwives. Because of their faithfulness and fear of God they were blessed with families!
3) The midwives names are remembered
You can look all over this first chapter and find no name of the Pharaoh’s. God wasn’t concerned with the name of the kings but His is concerned with the names and lives of His people. How amazing that simple midwives names are known and remembered by God!
Proverbs 10:7 “The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, But the name of the wicked will rot.”
The pathway of blessing is always paved with bricks of obedience.
Conclusion: This first chapter is the beginning of God’s story to set Israel and all mankind free. It often looks like from our point of view that God is uninvolved and uninterested in our problems and pain. Remember Joseph? God is constantly setting up a deliver long before we need deliverance. Joseph saved Israel by providing a place for them in the famine. Moses will be used by God to redeem or set free Israel from Egypt. These all point to Jesus Christ.